A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.” And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times.
Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful. Today’s post will continue reviewing the Common Core ELA standards, which are listed in blue and are followed by their ambient counterparts.
English Language Arts Standards > Writing > Grade 2
Production and Distribution of Writing:
With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
Writing began in first grade as copying simple captions from stories heard and retold. Writing develops from there in a slow and steady progression, by copying longer sections of stories, and poems that have been learned by heart. Reading is learned through the writing that’s copied from the teacher’s sample. Independence in writing is slowly gained through strength of memory and repetition, while depending on the accuracy and integrity of the teacher’s writing skills, thereby learning how to write through examples of excellence. No revisions or editing yet.
With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
The guidance and support from adults is total, it’s the whole picture right now, as stated above. Peer collaboration is hardly applicable to second graders. As a group or individually, they are all still looking to the teacher for total guidance. Digital tools used for research can’t compare with a live teacher. Knowledge becomes wisdom when it is imparted from one human being to another. Waldorf students’ writing is beautifully produced and published as they construct their own textbooks: main lesson books, comparable to medieval illuminated manuscripts. (See below for examples of seventh grade main lesson books from the Cedar Springs Waldorf School in Placerville, CA.)
Research to Build and Present Knowledge:
Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations.
This sort of research writing needs to wait until reasoning has arrived, with the capacity for abstract thought at age 11 or 12. This maturity is evident in the seventh grade work shown below. Everything is beautifully illustrated and written by hand. Pride of craftsmanship and a reverence for every subject is there. The Waldorf educated child grows into a true world citizen in his or her own time, guided by the loving authority of the teacher, one that brings forth true discipleship in the students. Mentorship is a lost art in teaching, one that’s sorely needed and sadly lacking.
Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
This sort of recalling and gathering is done in an informal way, in the course of any day at school or homeschool. It’s not yet made formal though. Recollection and memory is stronger now than it will ever be again, and if this quality is nurtured and developed, it will serve the older child and adult well. But again, the key is not to formalize too soon.
Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow to continue with the Common Core ELA standards and their ambient counterparts.